chapter  5
10 Pages

The Panic of 1893

ByMark Carlson

The panic occurred against a backdrop of rising concerns about the currency and the economy. With respect to the currency, the commitment of the United States to the gold standard was viewed as being placed in jeopardy as silver purchases by the Treasury increased outstanding Treasury notes potentially redeemable in gold even as gold reserves at the Treasury declined (Lauck 1907). The health of the economy was also deteriorating around the time of the panic as mercantile and industrial bankruptcies rose and the railroad industry came under pressure (Sprague 1910). While scholars have debated the relative importance of these factors since shortly after the crisis, it seems likely that both factors played a role.